The last bit June 2, 2006Posted by silentEcho in Spiritual, Stories.
"He was caught again." "Are you sure?" "Yes. He was caught just when he was about to cross the fence. Poor soul, one more step and he would have been free."
"Poor soul? He is a lunatic. What's the good of trying all this when he can wait?"
"He says it is better to die than to take freedom for granted."
I heard as the inmates talked. I also wondered: Why did he try it again and again? This was the twelfth time that he had been caught in a escape attempt. Everytime we doubled security on him and everytime he tried the same thing. His attempts were folied but not him. He was as outspoken and had the same nerves he showed in his first attempts, even more. It was time now for taking him to the concentration cell. It was nothing new for him though. This would be the umpteenth time he would be sent in the cell. We had never succeeded in ghetting any information from him. Neither did we succeed to crush his courage and confidence. Thrashings couldn't keep him from trying to escape.
I stood outside the cell, hearing his cries for a long time. But everytime what I heard was another proclamation of courage. Fear was absent from those cries. as absent as the moon from the new moon night. The officers left the cell and he was dragged to his cellar by the inmate-in-charge.
That night I went to visit him. He was bleeding at places and the bruises were as common as hair on his body. But he was alive. They had never succeeded in crushing him : mentally or physically.
He looked up at me. " How are you doing? " I asked in the usual hard tone.
"Fine. I am fine. May I ask, what, in the name of god, brings the Jailor himself to me?"
" It was just that I wanted to warn you against trying to escape again. This time we will not tarry from having you shot. So if you want to live, be good."
"I tried twelve times. And you know it as well as my soul does that I will not refrain from a thirteenth attempt," he said, defiantly.
"Thrashings show no effect on you. I have seen that."
"So why do you think your warning will do what thrashings couldn't?"
"I am warning you not because I am afraid that you might escape. I am warning you because I am afraid we might have to shoot you this time. What's the good of doing this when you know there's still hope? The court might just issue a release order. Besides the security has been doubled again."
"Hope…hope. Your fears about shooting me are based on the hope that I will fail. You have hope that your security will succeed. I have hope that I will escape. I hope that you and your security will fail. The world clings to hope jailor. That's most of all we have whether we realise it or not. Let's just respect each other's hope."
I closed in on him, face-to-face now and spoke to him angrily, "I don't want to know your hope philosophy." He merely smiled and I backed off. "I am interested in why you have been so insistent on escaping when you might just get a release order. You can be a free man without this trouble."
"What's the good of taking alms when you can always do things yourself? Things taken for granted lose significance. Freedom is grabbed, fought for, achieved; NOT taken as mercy or for granted. What you call freedom is a bone thrown to the jaildog for me. I would rather die attempting to break free than take what the court throws at me."
"I knew you would say this. But still. I don't understand why you try again and again even when you fail everytime?"
"Who says I failed? Is there failure jailor? Tell me, if I give the attempt the best I could, is it failure? No it's not. It's just that there is a better way to do things. The more the freedom keeps itself from me, the more indispensable it becomes for me. The glass is full jailor, you can't keep me for long now."
"So you will try again?"
"Even when you know you will be shot or that you will be beaten worse?"
" All that will do is to kill me or hurt me badly. That doesn't matter much. I will either escape or I will perish. But perish my body will one day even if I escape. This is the only truth we have here. The only thing worth knowing. Every thing perishes till the last bit except the very last. It's the only thing that remains. In your warehouses it earns nothing in barter but for me it's invaluable. It's the only thing worth having, it's the only thing we truly have. I will perish but my ideas, my soul will remain unscathed. They will live on and you will see them live. They are the last bit. Within that bit I am free, no chains or walls bound me and no bullets can kill me. Bullets kill bodies jailor, bullets can't kill soul."
I couldn't say anything. He continued, "I will escape and you will watch me escape. Have as many bullets as you can but remember all you have is hope just as I have just hope. Bullets without that are useless and so is my pursuit. Go to sleep now, it's been tiring for you to police me again and again."
I returned to my cabin immersed in what he had said. Somedays later he did it. He escaped the prison.
"What a waste of life? He could have been a free man," chief said as he threw the release orders in trash. I knew better.
"I am outside the fence jailor. I am free as I always was in the bit that your bullet missed." His eyes shined like the moon above. I could see the triumph on his face.
" I won. "
He was right; five prisoners escaped that night.
Inspired by V for Vendetta